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Everything you need for a Messor barbarus ant colony

Messor barbarus is a distinctly granivore (grain-eating) ant species from the Mediterranean region. It belongs to the so-called harvester ants and is one of the beginner species for ant owners due to its relatively simple demands on climate and food. Due to its color and the distribution of minor, media and major workers (smaller and larger), it is very exciting to watch.

Food for Messor barbarus

In the wild, Messor barbarus mainly eats grains and uses them to make "ant bread", but sweet fruits and dead insects are also gladly accepted. Messor barbarus covers a large part of its moisture requirements through the grains and the rest through insects. In the formicarium, grains and, if required, honey, dry protein, very small insects or jellys can be fed. Honey water is only accepted if there is insufficient fluid. Since Messor species tend to plunge into open water sources, these should always be covered with small stones or cotton wool so the ants can not drown.

Winter rest for Messor barbarus

Messor barbarus hibernates from around the end of November to the end of February. This is different from e.g. Lasius Niger because they do only reduce their activity instead of having no activity during hibernation. The winter rest should be spent at approx. 15°C, since in regions where Messor barbarus comes from, the temperatures are only rarely lower, even in winter. To do this, you can simply place the ants in an unheated room. There are also reports from ant keepers who keep Messor barbarus without hibernation. However, this can shorten the lifespan of the colony or slow down the development of the brood. During the hibernation the animals only need to be fed a little. However, you should regularly check the moisture and watch out for mold!

Formicarium for Messor barbarus

Messor barbarus fits best in our size M Formicaria. Harvesting ants need a slightly moist nest area for the brood and a dry nest area to store their collected grains (dry so that no mold can form). This works best with two separate nests, which are included in our starter set. You should therefore start with our Starter Kit for Messor species. This offers enough space for about 1-2 years. Then you should expand both the nest and the arena area.

The optimal climatic conditions for Messor barbarus are as follows:
Humidity: Arena: 30 - 50% Nest area: 50 - 70%
Temperature: Arena: 25 - 30 ° C Nest area: 21 - 26 ° C

Our Digfix nest material is ​​best suited for Messor barbarus. It is very insensitive to moisture and ensures that the view into the nest and the chambers and passages in it is not disturbed by substrate residues as it is the case with sand-loam mixtures. Due to their strong jaws, major workers can easily eat their way through Ytong over time. Therefore, glass nests with Digfix insert are the best and safest way to keep Messor barbarus.

A sand-loam mixture, ideally our "desert" substrate, should be used as the ground substrate to imitate the natural environment of the animals.

Food Mix Set - for grain collecting species
9,90 €
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